Napoleon Hill and Mastermind Groups

What did Napoleon Hill have to say about Mastermind Groups?

In his book, “Think and Grow Rich,” he talked about something called a “mastermind alliance.” He goes on to describe a mastermind group as, “A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.”

In his book, “Master Key to Riches,” Napoleon Hill says, “Every mind needs friendly contact with other minds, for food of expansion and growth.” To Hill mastermind groups are established to help create an environment that nurtures and supports growth.

Notice how he uses the word “friendly” throughout his discussion of mastermind groups? Hill believed that a harmonious groups of two or more people who come together for a specific purpose, or around a specific topic, bring forth the power of creativity and support that you can’t find when you go it alone. Napoleon Hill feels so strongly about this that he says in Your Magic Power to be Rich, “Maintain perfect harmony between yourself and every member of your master mind group. If you fail to carry out this instruction to the letter, you may expect to meet with failure. The master mind principle cannot obtain where perfect harmony does not prevail.” That’s a strong message about what makes a mastermind group succeed or fail.

In Hill’s book, “The Law of Success,” he adds another element to the idea of a mastermind group: the group helps to organize useful knowledge, creating a virtual encyclopedia from which each member can draw information.

When starting a mastermind group, or joining an existing one, look for these three hallmarks: friendly, growth-oriented, and willing to share information.

By the way, have you seen Napoleon Hill’s videos from his TV show in the 1960s? You can view them all of Napoleon Hill’s videos here.

Want to learn more about how you can start a mastermind group? Click here.


Sharing Success Stories in Your Mastermind Meetings

In mastermind groups, atmosphere and mindset matter. To help set the right tone and atmosphere in mastermind group meetings, I encourage you to start each meeting with a round of Success Stories. These are 1 or 2 minute retelling of something that’s happened to each person since the last meeting that makes them feel successful.

Each person’s definition of “success” is different. For one person, it might be finally cleaning and decluttering their office. For another person, it might be having an important relationship-building conversation with their child. It could be the million dollar sale, or walking three times in the past week.

It doesn’t matter what the actual success story is. What matters is that we bring forward those things that make us feel successful and share them with the group…and that the group hears it and acknowledges it and applauds it. And it helps us to define what success looks like and feels like.

This helps foster a positive mental attitude and helps people look for success in everyday occurrences. And after all, isn’t that what a mastermind group is all about? Helping each other with great ideas, getting into action around those ideas, and feeling successful because of that action.


How Fear Can Ruin Your Mastermind Group

Let’s cut to the chase: Your group has been active for a few months and everyone is getting along fine. Then all of a sudden, people stop showing up on time. Or they’re not prepared. Or their creativity is blocked and the group brainstorming stinks.

What Happened?

It’s simple. Mastermind groups ask people to grow and change. People want to grow and change…or at least they say they do.

But when the rubber hits the road and you ask people to not only set goals but to be held accountable for completing goals, things fall apart.

Fear raises its ugly head and people in a mastermind group stop working efficiently together. You’ve heard the litany of fears:

  • What if I’m successful? Will it ruin my life?
  • What if I fail? Will it ruin my life?
  • What if others get jealous? Will it ruin my life?
  • What if I run out of money? Will it ruin my life?
  • What if I make the wrong decision? Will it ruin my life?

(Notice how each fear goes to the worse-case scenario? That’s what fear does to us, and that’s how you’ll be able to spot it in your mastermind group Hot Seats.)

How to Fix It

First of all, tell people in the very first meeting that fear is likely to come up in a month or two, so that they’re prepared for it. Find out from them what their common fears are around change, growth and learning curves. Ask them to keep a journal of their thoughts and feelings so that they can identify when fear arrives — and deal with it — before it grabs a hold and won’t let go.

Second, ask the mastermind group to support each other knowing that this sluggish time will happen to nearly everyone in the group. Create space in your meetings for people to talk about their fears and the way they self-sabotage themselves. Brainstorm with each other to find ways of dealing with the problem.

Finally, keep holding each other accountable to take action. You might need to ratchet back the action items into smaller steps, making them less daunting and more do-able. But don’t allow people to stop taking action and wallow in fear.

Being prepared in advance for this to happen will help your mastermind group tough it out during these small crises. After all, that’s what you’re in a mastermind group for — support, brainstorming and accountability!


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